By JEREMY SPEER
Hello, Findlay Area!
Today I awake amid a new sunrise that offers few hints of familiarity. The comforting rhythms of yesterday and the past have given way to a brilliant, unique landscape.
Northwest Ohio is my new home and I couldn’t be happier to be here. After 14 professional years and my formative years in Northern Michigan, I made the trek in May to become the publisher of The Advertiser-Tribune in Tiffin. In a “funny how things work” moment, six months later I was preparing also to be the publisher of The Courier and Review Times. It is quite frankly, the opportunity of a lifetime.
I cannot wait to roll up my sleeves, connect with my community and make a difference, although in week one, I’m learning more than ever to take things day by day and in some cases, minute by minute.
You’ll find I am passionate about a few things in life — family, faith, community, sports and of course, community newspapers.
I am excited about what the Findlay will continue to offer my family and I in each of these categories. Perhaps in a moment of serendipity, we signed up our soccer-loving 9-year-old daughter to play for Findlay’s Pacesetter South program before we moved down here. Traveling to practices and games gave me first-hand exposure to what I thought was a really cool city. Now, I see Findlay as a really cool city I can make an impact in, and I am so thankful to be introduced to this area through getting to know some parents of the Girls U10 team.
You’ll hear more about sports in my columns to come, but what truly defines me is a lifelong interest in journalism.
I am a second-generation newspaperman. My parents met down the road at the paper in Wheeling, West Virginia. When I realized my aspirations of being a professional athlete were not coming to fruition (probably in about seventh grade!), I decided to pursue a career in journalism. It was natural for a kid whose morning routine throughout school included reading the daily paper alongside a bowl of cereal and cup of orange juice.
After graduating from Central Michigan University, I was hired to a twice-weekly paper in Gaylord, Michigan as sports editor. I knew the Herald Times was a great paper, but I figured I would be there for two years and then move up the rung. The next great Sports Illustrated writer was where I thought I was destined.
A funny thing happened — the community journalism bug bit me. I fell in love with the relationship a paper has with its community — cheerleader, watchdog, historian. I became the editor of the paper, winning seven-straight Michigan “Newspaper of the Year” awards, expanding my roles at sister papers in a nearby community along the way. Now, 14 years later, I have moved to this region to help a trio of strong publications.
On that front, look for me, my wife and two daughters to be out in the community, shopping, mingling and serving in a place that has proudly supported its local paper for so many years. I want to meet as many people as possible –and look forward to myself and other members of our staff serving on community projects alongside with our most important resource — you. We will look for ways to form partnerships with our readers and community and will rely on you to help us make decisions.
Above all, I will be an enthusiastic defender of community newspapers and their place in locations like Tiffin, Findlay and Fostoria. We may not be able to cover Washington or Columbus as well as some, but we are going to cover this region like no other. I am excited to embrace the challenges in our industry and to shout from the rooftop that local news and our publications and products are hand-in-hand, and we aren’t going anywhere.
I look forward to connecting with you through this column and welcome any feedback along the way. My door is always open and my phone always on, even if you want to simply want to make fun of Jim Harbaugh’s khakis or rub in last week’s score to a fan of That Team Up North.
The current sunrise in my view is bright, burning with energy and possibilities. I cannot wait to see what this day holds.
Jeremy Speer is the publisher of The Courier, Review Times and The Advertiser-Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.